Summer Thinking

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Summer is complicated no matter how old you are.  A lot of personal growth needs to take place during those long weeks of daylight.  If you’re five, you’re trying to get tall and brave enough for kindergarten.  If you are a middle school girl, you are trying to groom a look and attitude that can win you popularity the next year.  It’s no surprise then that it’s also a time of huge expectation and personal growth for those of us who live the rest of the year abroad. Little by little, you start to reconnect with your dear friends and family and find that conversations have been saved for your return.  The stories come out:  children who are making lifestyle choices contrary to their parents’ vision for them, financial issues, loves found, loves leaving.  They look older, you look older, and those who have gone are missed more, not less, over time.  It’s a lot of life to internalize in a short amount of time.
We’re half way through our summer vacation and my heart is already quite full of thoughts about all of these people who are vitally important to me and then I also want some still time to regenerate my own spirit and mind.  What do I do?  I go to some rituals like walks by the ocean, organizing my life, and of course cooking.  I can’t write about all of the big things so I’m going to systematically write about food experiences I want to undertake while I still have a little time.  This may sound like avoidance or denial, but in reality this is the way I structure time for my mind to work on things and at the same time,  have some documentation about what I learn and experience.  So here are two cool things from today.
1.                     This Le Creuset pan is called  a Doufeu.  It may sound a little gimmicky, but it has a recessed lid with little nibs on the underside.  What you do is put in a long-cooking dish with a moderate amount of liquid.  You place the tight-fitting lid and then fill the recession with ice.  The cool lid creates a condensation cycle in the pot which makes the pot self-basting, like continuous rain on your dish without watering it down.  I used it for the first time tonight and got a nicely tender piece of lamb with a rich sauce.  I’m looking forward to experimenting with many types of meat and vegetables, along with different liquids.  
2.                     The July Bon Appetit is a great publication.  If you have been a long time Bon Appetit reader, you won’t think there is anything new about a picture of barbecued meat on the cover and the promise of berry recipes inside, but BA has a new editor, Adam Rapoport, and the tone of the magazine seems sharper, more technically interesting, and features some unexpected uses of seasonal ingredients.  I hope to cook a lot of the recipes, but I started tonight with the Zucchini Cornbread and it was a beautiful recipe.  The process begins with browned butter and that flavor remains distinct even in the finished bread.  It was delectably moist as zucchini-based baked goods generally are.  
          So while I’m thinking and processing my summer conversations, I am going to cook through some new recipes which I’m certain will eventually lead me to some new summer insights.

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